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Monica Lewinsky seeks to curb ‘abuse of power’ with ban on presidential self‑pardons

By Jake Beardslee · November 28, 2023

In brief…

  • Lewinsky proposed 6 new amendments to the US Constitution
  • Topics included banning self-pardons, establishing security clearances/term limits for elected officials, protecting rights
  • She argued the Constitution is overdue for reforms given its historic pace of changes
  • Poll cited shows public backing for some proposals like eliminating Electoral College
Monica Lewinsky outlined a case for six new constitutional amendments on issues like presidential pardons, age limits, and the Electoral College in a recent op-ed, arguing the founding documents were in need of reforms and upgrades.  Jurvetson/Flickr

In a recent Vanity Fair op-ed, Monica Lewinsky proposed adding six new amendments to the US Constitution. Lewinsky noted that the last amendment to be ratified, the 27th, was proposed in the 1700s but not passed until 1992. Given the relatively frequent pace of amendments earlier in history, she argued that “it’s time” for some “constitutional upgrades.”

Lewinsky’s first proposed amendment would ban presidents from pardoning themselves. This aims to prevent abuse of power and ensure accountability. She also proposed an amendment requiring security clearance background checks for presidents and members of Congress. Third, Lewinsky said the Constitution cannot be suspended, even during martial law.

Two other proposals focused on age limits. One would establish a retirement age for elected officials, citing the need for younger generations’ perspectives. The other would set term limits, in line with Senator Mitt Romney voluntarily leaving at age 76.

Lewinsky’s fifth proposal was eliminating the Electoral College, which she argued detracts from democratic elections and was initially meant to protect slavery. Her final proposal called for amending the Constitution to explicitly protect reproductive rights in light of the recent overturning of Roey v. Wade.

Lewinsky concluded by questioning what the original documents might look like if “founding mothers instead of fathers” had crafted them. While acknowledging amendments require bipartisan support, she advocated starting the process of constitutional reforms. The article directly quoted Lewinsky and cited a Pew poll finding broad public support for some of her proposals.